I am having a contractor wire my home for ethernet. Is just standard cat 5 all I need? My uses are just media sharing, streaming HD from comp to TV, sling box, gaming, etc, Internet speed is 35mbps, I have at minimum 4 computers connected. Any reason to get cat 6? Is there anything particular that I should watch for or do while getting my home wired (such as cable type, solid/utp/patch? The contractor said he has a spool of cat 5 and asked if that was okay.
The longest run is about 50'
More aboutethernet cable wiring home
Cat 5 should be fine for you distance
Did you mean Cat 5 or Cat 5e ?? either Cat5e or Cat 6 would be fine but avoid the older Cat5 cable --- Cat5e cable is usually the same or possibly even less costly than Cat5 cable and has improved bandwidth, less crosstalk and improved durability, due to improvements in the quality and thickness of the PVC protective jacket.
CAT 5 cable will support 10/100 Ethernet. That is, Ethernet and Fast Ethernet. CAT 5e cable will support Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, and Gigabit Ethernet. And with the increase in video resolutions being used to transmit video files eventually you may run into problems if using the slower Cat5 cabling.